A cocker for all quarry

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

My shoot­ing is mainly driven now, due to ad­vanc­ing years and a hip re­place­ment. I am about to re­place my old springer spaniel and fancy get­ting a cocker, hav­ing seen one or two out shoot­ing, but won­dered if it would be able to re­trieve all game. I have watched one re­trieve a hare, but is that an ex­cep­tion? Would it strug­gle with a cock run­ner, for in­stance?

A good work­ing-strain cocker puppy from a rep­utable breeder should give you the best chance of suc­cess. Gen­er­ally, cock­ers have a real will­ing­ness to please, are happy lit­tle dogs that are full of courage and love the com­pany of hu­mans. They cope nat­u­rally with at­tempt­ing to re­trieve any size of ar­ti­cle, and with the cor­rect train­ing have no trou­ble with large 58 • SHOOT­ING TIMES & COUN­TRY MAG­A­ZINE game such as hares and cock pheas­ants. Most can also man­age a goose, though it may be a drag rather than a carry.

My first good cocker, weigh­ing 18lb when in prime work­ing con­di­tion, would bring back all game, al­beit with a lit­tle dif­fi­culty and need­ing the oc­ca­sional rest when car­ry­ing a lively hare. Of course, do not ex­pect a cocker to fly over a gate with a hare in its mouth; it will usu­ally find the path of least re­sis­tance un­der­neath. But, al­low­ing for those sorts of phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions, a cocker will try its very best to get ev­ery­thing back to hand.

I have used many dif­fer­ent breeds at the peg, and with the cor­rect train­ing a cocker is as good as any other breed for this pur­pose and fits in the car with ease on the way home.

Go with your heart and suc­cess will be more likely, rather than try­ing to train a breed that you don’t par­tic­u­larly want. PR

A cock run­ner poses no prob­lem for a good work­ing-strain cocker

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